CHILDREN were off school today as education chiefs counted the cost of a fierce blaze.
Greenside Infant And Nursery School could be shut for days, say education chiefs.
The school's evacuation plan worked perfectly and pupils escaped unhurt when the alarm was raised.
All 110 were on their way to safety at the neighbouring Almondbury High School on Greenside Avenue by the time the first fire crews arrived at 9.50am yesterday.
Huddersfield firefighters from Green Watch were praised for their quick action in confining the main fire to a corridor.
They stopped it from roaring through a suspended ceiling which could have been disastrous if the blaze had reached other parts of the single-storey building.
Three classrooms have been badly damaged by the fierce heat and thick black smoke.
An investigation is now going on to find the cause of the blaze, but the school will be closed for at least two days and possibly longer.
Pupils have spoken of the moment teachers told them to leave by the fire exits and led them to safety.
Five-year-old Jack Gilman said: "The teacher told us the school was on fire and took us all outside.
"I saw fire on top of the roof and when we had gone there was smoke coming out of our classroom too."
Five-year-old Ryan Shaw said: "We were all very brave. We all lined up outside and then were counted."
Emily Ammon, six, added: "We were in the classroom doing sums when we had to leave quickly."
Amanda Davison, five, said: "No-one in my class cried even though the fire alarm was going off and it was very loud."
Education officials said the children would have to stay at home for the next few days.
Sub Officer Alan Woodcock, of Huddersfield fire station, said: "The headteacher and staff did an excellent job getting everyone out of the school so quickly.
"Smoke was pouring out of a classroom window and flames were shooting through the roof.
"A team wearing breathing apparatus approached the fire through the gym and came to the fire doors which had done their job and held the blaze back. The heat was intense and we fought it from three sides.
"When the crews came back out they were exhausted from the sheer heat."
He said the crews had to be exceptionally wary of suspended ceilings.
"Fire can get into them, travel along them and then appear behind and trap them," he said.
Huddersfield fire station commander, Assistant Divisional Officer, David Myers said: "The first fire crews on the scene fought hard to confine the fire to the corridor and stopped it from getting into the false ceiling.
"The fire started in the corridor which has been very badly damaged and it's gone through the roof.
"It spread into part of one classroom, and that room along with two others have been very badly damaged by smoke and heat."
The fire took about an hour to bring under control as dozens of firefighters from as far as Batley rushed to help.
More than 50 were there in the end and Fernside Avenue was clogged with firefighting appliances.
West Yorkshire Ambulance Service field-based assessor Alan Parkinson was one of the first paramedics on the scene. He said: "Some of the pupils were quite upset, but none were hurt. All the fire drill practice worked well on the day and the teachers must be praised for that."
All the children were taken across a playing field to Almondbury High School where they were given a drink and a bag of crisps in the school hall.
Their parents were contacted and had to go and pick them up.
Almondbury High headteacher Janet Tolley said: "We must congratulate all staff and pupils from Greenside for their quick evacuation.
"They were out very quickly and were on their way to us when the first fire engines arrived."